What Happens When You Lose Everything

‘When you are young, you can lose it all and still have something ‘ Young – RaeLynn (feat, Leeland Mooring)

I was listening to this song on the way to country to country festival this weekend staring out of the train window and trying to fight the overwhelming nausea (I hate those pendolino trains). For a young country pop artist she has some pretty insightful lyrics in her songs and she got me thinking. Last week we accepted an offer on our house. The last part of our “old life” will soon be gone – hopefully anyway – and we will have then “lost it all.” Money, careers, house, fancy cars, lifestyle, the ability to hold a normal conversation with each other, and hobbies we used to love.

In the face of all of that though I’m not upset and I no longer feel a sense of loss or grief that I did in the early stages of Finn’s recovery. I feel excited for what’s to come. Despite everything we lost we have managed to keep hold of each other. I have read so many upsetting stories about how relationships have not survived post-stroke. Personality changes and caring difficulties get in the way and irrevocably damage long term partnerships or marriages. I don’t judge those people for not being able to survive the trauma, I applaud them for trying but recognising when it just isn’t working any longer. 

I think that what has happened to us both has made us stronger. Both as a couple and as individuals. I truly believe that you don’t really know who you are as a person until you face adversity of some kind. I never really thought of myself as a strong person but there is no way I could have gotten through this without being so. It helps that I have had some amazing and strong women in my family to look up to in my life. Being strong or resilient doesn’t mean that you will never get knocked back. It seems to me that these characteristics are what help you to adapt and cope with your circumstances. To find a new way forward.

So, yes we have may lost a lot in the last two years but we have gained a lot as well. In addition to strength we have learnt to be patient. Well I should say we are learning to be patient! That’s never really been one of my strong suits but a good 85% of the time I’m able to give Finn the time he needs to communicate his point without getting stressed out. The other 15% of the time is usually when i’m tired, unwell or he’s trying to make his point at a really inconvenient time! I must say though I think the amount of patience that Finn exercises with himself is astounding. He does get frustrated some days but overall he has dealt with his speech restrictions so well. He knows his limitations and he will remind himself to slow down when he struggles with a word. 

We’ve also gained experience. Valuable life experience that has helped us to develop as people, reshape our priorities and has given us more time together. Before the stroke we were both very career-centric individuals. Too much value was placed on career and money rather than time and experiences. We didn’t work to live, we lived to work. Our evenings together were short and sweet and usually ended up with Finn snoring away on the couch next to me rather than engaging in any kind of conversation. Weekends were spent with Finn juggling work and home. By the time a holiday came around he would spend the first few days feeling ill from how much he had overworked himself. Looking back it all seems crazy. What was it all for? To have the big house, fancy cars and designer clothes…doesn’t really feel worth it any more. 

Finally, and most importantly, the stroke has brought us more love. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder but in our situation I think that spending so much time together has made my heart grow fonder. My heart swells with pride every time I see improvements in his speech or watch him try and do something independently. Great example from today – Finn tried to make a phone call to the dentist to make his own appointment. He ended up passing the phone over to me but the important thing is that he had the confidence to try it on his own. I think there are a lot of people in his situation who would give up but he never has and I love him for that. 

In essence then I completely agree with RaeLynn. You can lose it all and still have something. I don’t think you need to be young to do so though. You just need to have the right attitude and look for those little things that you can still hold on to. 

3 thoughts on “What Happens When You Lose Everything

    1. Thanks Its an interesting read. Having worked in the nhs and experiencing it first hand I agree that the patient journey is a rather pretty term for something that can feel very much like hell when you’re going through it. Not necessarily because of the services (although sometimes that will be the case) but just merely because of the circumstances you find yourself in. There’s a lot of information that I wish I had earlier that I think the NHS should be an access point for. Sign posting to other services is a hot topic in nhs leadership at the moment but you don’t really see it much. We’ve only just learnt about a charity called speak easy in Bury through a fellow stroke carer. They’re an hour from us but cover the entire north west. Not once has a medical professional so much as mentioned them but they have links with the manchester university and hospitals we visited. They offer some good support for aphasia so I can’t believe we weren’t told about them earlier!

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